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Household hazardous waste depot serves nearly 200 residences in its first four months

BRATTLEBORO—The Windham Solid Waste Management District (WSWMD) opened a new permanent depot for accepting and storing household hazardous waste (HHW) on May 1.

An existing specially designed three-compartment metal container with alarms and fire suppression was rehabilitated for the structure, as permitted by the Vermont Department of Environment Conservation.

According to WSWMD, in the first 17 weeks the depot has been open, it has served 192 households, an average of 11 each week.

The facility is open from 9 to 11 a.m. on Thursdays, by appointment, or by contacting the District at 802-257-0272 or contacting via windhamsolidwaste.org. A fee of $5 per vehicle is charged for up to 10 gallons of HHW. Larger quantities from residents, businesses, and schools can also be processed for a fee.

The facility is staffed by WSWMD employees with training in sorting and packing HHW, which is then picked up by the District’s licensed hauler, Heritage Environmental Services, for delivery to recycling and disposal facilities.

For many years, the District conducted one-day collection events several times per year at various sites around the District in accordance with state requirements to offer convenient HHW collection locations to all residents periodically.

WSWMD says the cost of hiring licensed contractors has been increasing in recent years and now costs at least $3,000 per event on top of the cost of processing the HHW. Costs were as high as $200 per vehicle.

According to a news release, since opening the depot, with the support of funds from the DEP, “the average cost per vehicle has decreased significantly, and it appears that a record number of residents are using the facility due to its convenient hours and location.”

Since the facility is not heated, it will not be operated from December through April.

The District may still offer occasional one-day events in its westernmost towns. In July, WSWMD covered the costs for Readsboro residents to participate in an HHW collection offered by neighboring Bennington County Solid Waste Alliance.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #629 (Wednesday, September 8, 2021). This story appeared on page C3.

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